WARWICK, R.I. — A Rhode Island man who was naked when he went onto a stranger’s property and beat him to death was found to be not guilty by reason of insanity on Wednesday.
Christian Lepore, 36, “could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or confirm his conduct to the requirements of the law” when he killed John O’Neil in May 2016, Superior Court Judge Brian Stern said.
An expert had testified that Lepore had paranoid schizophrenia. A witness testified that hours before the killing, Lepore had been babbling about aliens and a government cover-up.
Lepore will be committed to a state hospital, where he will be examined to determine whether he is dangerous.
“While we respect this decision, we recognize that it brings no comfort or sense of justice to the O’Neil family,” said Attorney General Kilmartin said in a statement.
Lepore was also found not guilty by reason of insanity for the assault of several police officers and a state police dog.
O’Neil, 62, was working outside his West Greenwich home when police say Lepore attacked him. O’Neil managed to call 911, and the attack was captured on audio.
Lepore had worked as an assistant cook at the University of Rhode Island, not far from O’Neil’s property.
The last time someone was found not guilty by reason of insanity for murder in Rhode Island was in 2016, according to the attorney general’s office.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the last time someone was found not guilty by reason of insanity for murder in Rhode Island was in 2016, not 2011.